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Sen. Schatz Addressed Residents

Sen. Brian Schatz. Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz visited with Molokai residents last Tuesday during a town hall event at Kualapu`u Center, sharing news on national policy and answering questions. From North Korea to natural resource protection, the Democrat from Hawaii engaged on a wide range of topics and talked about being in politics during “an incredibly tumultuous time.” He also encouraged community members to reach out to his Hawaii staff anytime and promised they would be heard and responded to.

“I have an obligation to take care of the needs of the people across Hawaii,” said Schatz. “So even as I’m being critical of the President, or fighting climate change or working on improving our healthcare system… I also know that in the end, my job is to bring home resources for needs that we have back home… and also in the age of Trump, to stand up for what is right.”

With North Korea is ramping up their missile capabilities and their proximity of Hawaii is on the minds of many, he suggested two-fold action to pursue diplomacy while also beefing up our defense systems.

“We are not in any immediate danger… [but] the danger is increasing by the day,” he said, adding that North Korea is accelerating their capabilities a lot faster than initially expected. “Our tolerance for risk should be zero… we have to be 100 percent sure that we are safe.”

Schatz said even though President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, many politicians are participating in a “We Are Still In” movement and will represent the country in Germany to show that “the President may be out but we’re still in.”

On some local issues that were raised, he suggested a personal talk story to better understand the issues and promised his staff would follow up.

In light of recent demonstrations of racism and civil rights issues nationally, Schatz called it a “societal problem.”

“We all have to do our very best to demonstrate what life should be like across the U.S,” he said. “It sounds trivial… but we’re really part of a family.”

He said he draws inspiration from the good he sees people doing, and cited one example that began right here in Hawaii.

“… I’ll tell you the most inspiring thing that maybe I’ve ever seen, was what happened with the Women’s March, and the idea that it was this retiree from Hana, Maui posting something on Facebook that became the largest single grassroots demonstration in the history of humankind,” he said of international movement last year. “…It was just this lady on Maui saying, ‘we should do something, maybe we should go to Washington,’ and the next morning it was like 250,000 people online saying, ‘yeah, we should do this!'”

Despite the many challenges the country faces today, Schatz remained hopeful.

“…We’re in a terrifying time, but we’re in an inspiring time where people who never thought they’d be political [are getting involved], where people are trying to take the government back in the best and most appropriate ways, and so that gives me my energy to go back into the lion’s den, so thank you for your support.” 


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